Ali Rudel, owner of the popular East Durham Pie Company, launched a Kickstarter campaign last week to raise funds towards opening a brick and mortar store in the Old East Durham neighborhood where she works and lives with her husband, Benjamin Fillipo (executive director of the nonprofit Preservation Durham), and their two daughters.
As of Tuesday, the campaign has already raised more than half of Rudel’s $20,000 goal. I reached out to her to get her thoughts on the campaign, her future plans, why she is adamant about opening a shop in her neighborhood.
“I initially financed this business through bootstrapping,” Rudel said via e-mail. “As orders came in I reinvested that money into the business, bought equipment and supplies and grew it to the absolute max my home kitchen could sustain.
“But building out a commercial kitchen and cafe space, even one as simple as I’m planning for, will require financing,” she goes on to mention. Rudel plans to use the funds raised through the Kickstarter campaign to show potential lenders that East Durham Pie Co. has the financial means, and customer base, to open a successful shop.
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It is also important to Rudel that her new location be in the neighborhood that she and her family have grown to love. The city of Durham and local groups like Self-Help Credit Union have invested in the downtown infrastructure of Old East Durham, but Rudel notes that there still isn’t a place for people to gather for food and coffee, or to get some work done.
“I love going to businesses downtown and in other neighborhoods, but I think a lot of our neighbors wish that there was something within walking distance,” Rudel says.
“I see (the shop) as a place for the neighborhood, “ she continues, “a welcoming space where people can hang out, but also a place where we can host small events like live music, poetry readings, book clubs and storytime.
“I’m really excited to get more feedback from our neighbors on what they’d like to see in the space, “ Rudel concludes.
The menu will include the signature pies that have won her local acclaim, but Rudel also plans to expand to offer coffee, tea, savory pies, and eventually gluten-free offerings.
Fans of East Durham Pie Company have 19 more days to donate to the Kickstarter campaign. Rudel also does regular pop-ups, including one most Tuesday nights at Ponysaurus Brewing Company in Durham. For more information on East Durham Pie Company and upcoming pop-ups, visit their website at eastdurhampie.com.
Matt Lardie is a Durham-based food and travel writer. He writes the Eat Write Go blog: eatwritego.com. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org